One of the biggest challenges facing corporate SEO professionals is getting things done with limited time and resources. This is especially true when it comes to developing content, soliciting links, and implementing SEO recommendations.
So, as you lead a growing SEO team, there may be times when you need to outsource the work to manage the results and the amount of work required.
But how do you know which provider is right for you and whether you should outsource at all?
It helps to ask the right questions.
Use these top tips for successfully outsourcing business SEO to evaluate your options and get a better result.
1. Always ask for work samples from a relevant industry
For example, if you are managing SEO for a pharmaceutical client, you need to see examples of content he wrote for a pharmaceutical company as the sector is highly regulated and technical.
If possible, ask for live content samples under the company name that will give you an idea of the type of customers they are working with.
For example, if I’m looking for someone to write content for Pfizer, I’d like to see examples of content from top drug companies like Merck, Eli Lilly, etc.
2. Make sure that your contract includes a 30-day notice period
We don’t live in a perfect world and sometimes things just don’t go according to plan.
At the beginning of my career I worked for an agency and we hired a company to translate and optimize some international content, as we did not have the ability to optimize the language internally.
However, when we sent the recommendations to the customer, the customer warned us that this could never happen again due to the poor quality. We called our partner and told them we were going to end the relationship. But it wasn’t until we looked at the terms of the contract that we discovered that they contained a 60-day termination clause.
We had to pay her for services for the next two months. This was a great lesson.
3. Always ask for new references with the company’s email address and phone number
This is important so that you can check who you are talking to. Also, check out this person on LinkedIn and make sure they work where they supposedly work.
I am always suspicious of references with personal email addresses and cell phone numbers as there is no way to verify who they are.
But if you check the person out on LinkedIn and their photo and name are on the company website, that brings legitimacy into the reference check.
4. Make sure the company has insurance
God forbid the company you are outsourcing your work to has some shady tactics that will result in your client being hit by an algorithm update or manual action and losing revenue.
If the company has insurance, it can insure itself in the event of a dispute. This is especially important at the corporate level, where the stakes can be high.
5. Have a non-disclosure agreement between your company and your outsourcing partner
Again, this is particularly important for corporate-level clients.
Let’s say you work with Amazon. You don’t have an NDA and your partner starts telling people, “Yeah, I just got this big deal with Amazon.”
Guess what? Amazon is not your customer – it is yours. But if the message gets back to Amazon, you may risk losing your contract and facing a lawsuit for technically violating your NDA.
6. Always be transparent
When you outsource work, always let your client know.
For example, if your agency does not have good translation services, inform your client that you have a relationship with an outside company for these services. Honesty is always the best policy.
When they ask you for their name, include it, always reminding them that if they start going straight to them, you will get preferential agency rates.
7. Always treat your outsourcing partner as a member of your team
Once you’ve signed an NDA, share strategy documents with your vendor so they understand the goals and challenges of improving performance.
You and your provider should be strategic partners and all should have one common goal: to achieve results.
8. Request free trials so you can try it out before you buy
Most vendors are ready to take a sample job if it means raising thousands of dollars and building a new relationship.
For example, suppose you work with a customer who sells computer equipment. You can ask them to create an 800 word blog post on 3 ways to say when it’s time for a new hard drive.
Many will do it to build trust and win your business. Of course, when you end up using the blog post, you can add it to your first payment.
9. Always ask for case studies and video testimonials, if available
Case studies are a great way to review the vendor’s performance. They are also a great way to see the quality of the vendor’s work, the type of work, and the manner in which they are doing.
If they did a good job for a client like you, they can probably do a good job for you too!
10. Understand your time and cost savings
The main purpose of outsourcing is to get things done that you don’t have the time or resources to do in-house.
If you can get a ROI on outsourcing, then you can find out if it’s a cost-effective solution or if you need to hire new resources in-house to get the job done.
Outsourcing SEO tasks for businesses can save a lot of time, reduce costs and manage your client’s SEO campaigns.
That, in turn, gives you the freedom to work on other tasks and strategies that drive business outcomes.
By following these 10 tips, you can choose the right partner for your agency or consulting firm – and avoid choosing the wrong one. Do your due diligence and you can build a successful strategic partnership that will produce results for your customers or your company in the years to come.